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The order of the letters of the alphabet

Unfortunately there was not yet discovered an alphabetic sequence which could show us the original order of the LB alphabet. Several publications present different ways of ordering:

• according to phonetic groups: BMF/TDNLR/…
• without a discernable system: BGDUZTIK…

We prefer an order derived from the Old Phoenician alphabet which predominantly is determined by the factor “phonetic value”: starting with plosives and fricatives. Signs for phonemes not included in the Phoenician alphabet (additional sibilants) are positioned at the end of the alphabet.

The phonetic value of the letters

The phonetic value of most of the signs is well attested by their equivalents in the Punic lines of the bilingues of Dougga. However, there are some disputed details:

1. semi-consonants (semi-vowels)

H/, : different transliterations for a grapheme which was used to represent vowels in final position.
W/U, Y/I: different transliterations emphasising either the more consonantal or the more vowel-like character of the denominated phonemes.

2. sibilants

There is agreement about the existence of seven different graphemes for seven phonemes, but there are slight differences in the exact transliteration. Therefore, we prefer the neutral transliteration as S1, S2 etc.

3. P/F

There is no agreement if this grapheme represents the phoneme /p/ or /f/. Some indications from bilingues let us tend to favour /f/.

4. T3

This additional sign for the phoneme /t/ never appeared outside the corpus of Dougga.